Posts Tagged outfit along

A Rant, Another Knitting Dilemma and More Mannequin Madness

Warning:  Sensitive cyclists do not read on.

Disclaimer:  Some of my best friends are cyclists.  True.  One such madwoman friend is cycling from Paris to where I live in the South of France which is almost 800 km – a distance I consider fit only for an aircraft.

Vintage French Cycling Postcard

They love cycling in France and it appears to take priority over other traffic be it pedestrian, car or ambulance.   I don’t love cycling.  I’m not talking about cycling down to the bakery to get your croissants or zipping round to see your friend on the other side of town or gently trundling along taking in some beautiful scenery.  I’m talking about vast armies of cyclists, five or six abreast, steaming down country roads, grimly determined and in my way.  I don’t like the hideous lycra they wear or the way they hog more than one lane.  I can’t understand the attraction of standing by the side of the road watching streams of bikes going by in a blur or parking your vehicle on a bend to watch so that cars can’t get past you for 10 minutes in case they knock over one of the oncoming cyclists.   If  it had been suggested,  some years ago, that  men (as they mostly seem to be) put on skin tight body stockings and wore them in public the idea would have been laughed out of town.     It is particularly unappealing when they stop by the side of the road and, without bothering to conceal themselves in the trees, face the oncoming  traffic that is already being forced to go at a snail’s pace and take a pee –  although that is something observed regularly here in France even when there is not a bike race going on or lycra to contend with.  I can barely wait for the Tour de France next month.

They made me late for my yoga class this morning but I’m not bitter.

no cycling

Anyway, rant over (until the next time) and here is a sneak peak of my dress for the Outfit Along which, to be honest, I haven’t really been ‘alonging’ with but I’ve made it and it will be photographed and entered.  I have recently learnt – too recently for this dress – that you should make the size of dress or top  for your upper bust measurement, not your full bust because that will make the shoulders and neckline too big for you, and then you do a full bust adjustment.  Oops!  So that’s where I’ve been going wrong.  My last couple of dresses that have had fitted bodices have indeed been too big on the shoulders.  Next time……..

Simplicity 1803The cardigan part of the outfit has also had its problems.  I didn’t like the way I had picked up the stitches for the sleeves so I have frogged both of them and then I realised that I had cast off the stitches of the body too tightly and there was no way that ribbing was going to stretch round my waist.  So I, very carefully and with much trepidation, undid the cast off and redid it using Jenys Stretchy Bind Off.   Now it will!  Just got to do those sleeves again now.

Myrna CardiganDespite sharing my life with quite a few vintage French mannequins,   one of which I sent off to Canada a couple of weeks ago in a box big enough for a coffin, I decided I needed an adjustable mannequin to help me in my dressmaking endeavours.  My friend had a Lady Valet and I thought it looked good as well as being useful so I treated myself.

lady valet dress form

 Handsome aren’t they?

However, I had to buy the small size (the one on the right) for all my measurements including the chest but, though  I don’t like to brag,  that girl has got nothing on me in the bust department.  So, what to do?  I googled it, as I do most things I don’t know about, and found that you must not only adjust a dress form to your measurements but pad it a bit to make it feel more like flesh and, if need be, put one of your bras on it and pad to the desired fullness.  Then you must cover the whole thing in a body stocking of sorts – should have nabbed one of those cyclists this morning – or use, as I did, a sort of body shaping slip that I sometimes wear if I have a very fitted dress and don’t want lines of underwear showing.  So now, instead of my beautiful, clean looking mannequin on her lovely wooden stand, I have this.
DSC_0011 Note the chest cracked open as if for heart surgery as I struggled to make a doppelganger of myself.  I must neither gain nor lose weight as I don’t want to go through that process again and my plans for noting down the measurements of the Tialys madamoiselles and altering the dress form to suit when I’m making something for them will also not be implemented any time soon.

On the subject of mannequins, you may recall that I bought a baby sized one recently in order to get better photographs of the baby clothes I’m making.  Just to remind you here it is

Baby Mannequin

Well, guess what, it’s too big.  So now, having got the idea in my head, I’ve had to find another, smaller one.  No matter, this one can go in my shop – it’s from Paris dontchaknow.  Unfortunately, despite these tiny ones giving me the creeps and being grateful it had no face the one winging its way to me as we speak actually does have a head.  Plus, and I don’t know whether this makes matters better or worse, you can remove  it.  I feel a nightmare coming on.

I am no longer ‘waiting for the wadding’ as mentioned in my last post.   It is sandwiched between the front and back layers of my quilt and basted with curvy safety pins.  Off to start quilting it as it’s taking up my workroom floor and I won’t be able to get anything else done until it is at least de-masking taped from the floorboards.

 

* Post not sponsored by Lycra

 

 

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Swapsies

I have a friend, in France, who loves all things Japanese and goes there quite often and has ‘contacts’ and returns with beautiful vintage kimono and fabulous fabrics.

She took a fancy to an old livestock bell I had in my vintage shop because it was made in the village where she lives.

She wanted to know if I would do a swap.  The animal bell for some Japanese fabric.  So I went round to her house and had a rummage and this is what I ended up with.

Japanese silk Orange

Some gorgeous orange textured silk

japanese kimono silk

 Apparently the  wavy lines are picking out the movement of water flowing in a river. Traditionally, this motif symbolizes the passage of time, and the course of a lifetime.  Well, there you go – I just liked the colour and the ‘bobbly’ bits.

Japanese cotton

some circa 1970s kimono cotton

15.06 (7)

with a lovely handle and soft, slubby texture

Japanese Indigo Cotton

and these two indigo cottons which I am going to fuse together somehow for an infant’s outfit.  The dark blue one is sort of ‘corrugated’ – if you know what I mean – so I think it might look like shirring  and would make a cute top to a summer dress with the other fabric as the skirt.

Antique French Animal Bell

Here is the animal bell which is pretty gorgeous in its primitive state and becomes especially special if it was made in the village in which you now live

French Cow Bell

Now my dilemma is, what can I do with beautiful fabric that is only about 14 inches wide?

I’ve got around 2.5 meters of the orange and 2m of the pink and I’m thinking of  some sort of tops but I think  they would have to be in panels.  Any suggestions?  Is it possible to make anything other than a scarf?

The indigo prints are easier – I think I will be able to make a really cute baby dress from those.  I haven’t been promoting my baby dresses because I haven’t been pleased with the photographs.  I don’t have a baby to model the clothes and my dogs wriggle too much and struggle with the bloomers 😉  So, not having enough vintage mannequins in my house already(!), I found a child-sized mannequin on Ebay which used to grace a shop in Paris and plan to take a whole new set of photographs using this display model.

Baby Mannequin

 Is it me or is this just a tiny bit creepy?

Thank goodness it hasn’t got a face.

In other breathtaking news – I have finished my Simplicity 1803 dress for the Outfit Along – just need to hem it – and will reveal it soon.  The other part of the Outfit Along – the Myrna Cardigan – is one-armed at the moment but I hope to have it completed by the middle (or end) of next week.  I am pleased with the dress but the cardigan will probably end up as another ’round the house’ knit.  We’ll see.  I might try the method of using petersham ribbon behind the button and buttonhole bands for a neater and stronger finish as there is quite a bit of negative ease in this cardigan (hark at me getting all technical!) and it might look as if it is pulling a bit across the girls otherwise.   A tutorial for such a method is outlined here and I will report back if I decide to go along with it.

I am girding my loins to attend a vide grenier (boot sale, yard sale, flea market) as a seller rather than a buyer this Sunday.  Mlle. Tialys the elder and myself will be attempting to sell some of  the results of an over enthusiastic clothes buying habit formed over the last 5 years in her case and many more years in mine – and making room in our wardrobes for our new passion for lovingly hand made clothing.   I’ll let you know how we get on but be prepared for some grumbling about that group of people known as ‘the public’ which we will be miraculously disassociated from on Sunday as we attempt to sell to them.  Example scenario ” a euro for a vintage leather handbag – are you mad? – I’ll give you 50 cents” .   Maybe it will rain…….

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It’s All Coming Back To Me

I’ve been a bit wrapped up in making clothes lately but now that I’ve started making a quilt I’ve remembered how much I love it – or at least the construction stage.  The swearing and the gnashing of teeth don’t usually start until the quilting stage.

Remember I’d decided to use a Moda jelly roll in French General’s ‘La Petite Ecole’ design ?  I just couldn’t wait to get those triangles cut but I didn’t have a 60 degree triangle ruler – the shop was shut (well, this is rural France) so I made a template.  I made it wrong 😦  So, I had to throw away the first set of triangles I’d cut with it as they were on the wonk  which meant three strips gone from the jelly roll.  So, I made another triangle template and, this time, I concentrated.  Plus, I had made it in strong template plastic so my rotary cutter went right up against it.

LaPetiteEcoleQuilt (3)

I couldn’t resist arranging them into the hexagons they will become.  Unfortunately, I’m not the greatest matcher upper of seams and points so this may be as accurate as it gets.

LaPetiteEcoleQuilt (1)

Aah, patchwork, how I’ve missed you.

LaPetiteEcoleQuilt (2)

I know, I know, I’m supposed to be concentrating on the Outfit Along and making a dress and knitting a cardigan.  Well, I’ve got up to here with the dress –

OAL Progress0206 (2)

and, as the view of Simplicity 1803 that I’m making has four buttons on the bodice, I decided to make some covered ones

OAL Progress0206 (1)

I’ve decided I might not be cut out for these sew alongs/knit alongs/outfit alongs.  I’m far too impatient.  The sewing blog is talking about choosing fabric today and I just want to get on with it – I think the actual sewing bit isn’t even going to start for another couple of weeks.  I like to find sew-alongs long after they’ve finished, when  I’ve done a search for a pattern I’m having problems with and can find the help retrospectively, if you know what I mean.  This ‘real time’ business might not work for me.  Still, I won’t say too much as I’ll probably still be knitting the cardigan long after everyone else has finished.  We will see.  At least it has made me make the dress I’ve been meaning to make for over a year now.

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Why Do I Knit?

Sometimes I wonder why I bother knitting anything.

Crofter DK Sailor Collar Jacket

 I enjoy the actual process but I very rarely end up wearing anything I knit outside of the house.

Sailor Collar Jacket (1)

 For example, I’ve just finished this jacket.  I love the effect of the yarn and the colours.  I quite like the front view.  But I know for a fact I won’t be walking outside of my front door sporting that sailor collar.  Not that I don’t think it’s quite a good design feature.  Not that I haven’t seen photos of other people’s sailor collars and quite liked them.  It’s just not me.

Crofter DK Sailor Collar JacketSo, as with most of my hand knitted garments – I’ll probably just wear it around the house.  The dogs won’t judge my choice of pattern.  This, I say, just as I’m about to cast on for my knitted cardigan as part of the Outfit Along which starts today.  Oh well – it stops me from falling asleep in front of a film in the evenings.

petitecolequilt (2)

 Not part of the Outfit Along, obviously, but I will have some time to fit in another project or two and I’ve decided it’s been far too long since I’ve made a quilt.  I owe a friend a gift.  I had this jelly roll from Moda and it’s called La Petite Ecole from the French General range.

French General Quilt (2)

I know the colours aren’t bright and breezy but I rather like that sometimes and this blue matches some of the paintwork in her house.

Moda La petite ecole quilt (1)

This is the pattern I’ll be following which is from a book called More Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott

 

French General Quilt (4)

I think my friend will like it – if I can part with it that is!  I’m already envisaging it artfully draped over my own garden bench.

 

Now I’m  off to cast on the stitches for another ‘wearing for the dogs’ benefit’  jumper.  Do you knit (or crochet or sew) and not wear?  Is it the process rather than the finished article that does it for you?  Do tell!

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Virtual Sewing and Knitting Club

I mostly think of sewing and knitting as a lone pursuit – although I find knitting a bit more sociable as it tends to be more portable and I don’t have to disappear upstairs where my sewing machine lives.  When I was still in the U.K. I used to go, every couple of weeks, to a local craft shop who gave over a table cunningly placed in the centre of the fabric section, to a group of us who would sew together, mostly patchwork quilting projects, in exchange for the vast quantities of fabric we would buy.  I did try joining a group here but found the projects they did a little uninspired and they didn’t seem willing to try out new things.   Three of us rebelled and started a breakaway group which, although it is now down to two, suits me fine and is a little more centred on dressmaking which is also good as that is my ‘thing’ at the moment.

I do like talking about sewing and knitting projects but my weekly sewing buddy is French and, although my Franglais isn’t too bad, it’s just not the same as chatting in your native language.  As most of my other ‘real life’ friends aren’t interested in the ins and outs of it – to say nothing of the lack of interest at home(!)  – I have turned to ‘virtual’ friends in blogland to share these interests and to find inspiration.  I  have never done a sew along or knit along online because I haven’t liked the patterns chosen or have missed the beginning or just never got round to it.  Also, I usually like working at my own pace.  However, I found myself tempted by this one which is an outfit along, a  joint venture by Lauren, sewing diva at Lladybird and Andi Satterlund, knitwear designer at Untangling Knots, this will start on 1st June and the finished outfits to be photographed and submitted on the Ravelry thread by the end of July.

Outfit Along

The idea is to have a finished outfit at the end of two months and this includes a dress and a short cardigan to wear over the top of it.  As luck would have it, the dress pattern suggested, Simplicity 1803,  is one that I have already and have even bought the fabric for.  Mlle. Tialys the elder has already made one for herself and it looks great on her, I’ve just never got around to making my version.

SImplicity 1803

I am going to make the version with short sleeves and a slotted neckline in a spotty fabric.

The cardigan is a new design by Andi Satterlund called Myrna which I have bought, downloaded and ordered the yarn for so, once that arrives, I’m all ready to go.  I might miss out the keyhole detail on the back though as I’m not convinced it wouldn’t look like I’d just ripped a hole in it on some brambles or something.  Apart from that, I love the short sleeves, v-neck and eyelet details and I’m going to make it in a short of linen colour.  I have made one of Andi’s patterns before, the Miette (shown in my post here), another top down cardigan, which was something I’d never attempted before so it was interesting to do and knits up quickly.

Myrna CardiganThe Myrna Cardigan by Andi Satterlund

You don’t have to do either of these patterns for the Outfit Along – you could choose different dress and top patterns – but these will be the ones featured on Lauren and Andi’s blogs so, if you need any help, these would be the ones to go for.  I love them both and already have the dress pattern so an easy decision for me.  I don’t really need help with either pattern (I hope!) but I thought it would give me the push I need to finally get that dress made and, more importantly, I can feel as if I’m part of a sewing/knitting community where I can discuss any problems or little triumphs without getting the glazed look in the eyes of a less interested audience  – or at least I won’t be able to see it.

Have you ever participated in a knit along or sew along before?  If you are a beginner, would you consider it to get you started?  If you are experienced, would you go for it for the same reasons as me or have you got lots of ‘real life’ sewing friends you can bore to death chat to about your projects.

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